Advertisement

Can a catheter cause a urinary tract infection?

Yes, a catheter can cause a urinary tract infection. Anytime a foreign body (like a catheter) is placed, it can introduce bacteria into the body which in turn can cause infections. In fact, catheter associated urinary tract infections are very common, especially in patients who have chronic indwelling catheters. Frequently, these patients are on antibiotics therapy to prevent any infections from occurring. If a catheter is needed, the best way to prevent infection is to make sure the catheter is sterile, placed by a professional, and removed as soon as possible.
Dr. Robin Miller, MD
Internal Medicine

Those with a urinary catheter that is indwelling as well as those who intermittently catheterize themselves are at increased risk of urinary tract infection. The former group has a higher risk than the latter. A catheter increases the chance that bacteria can track up into the bladder. Certain things will help to lower the risk when using an indwelling catheter. 

  • Clean around the urethra every day
  • Keep the catheter clean
  • Clean your anal area after a bowel movement
  • Always keep the catheter bag lower than your bladder so the urine doesn’t back track.
  • Empty the bag regularly
  • Wash your hands before and after you empty the bag
  • Have the catheter changed regularly depending on what your doctor recommends.

 For Intermittent catheter use:

  • Use a new catheter each time
  • Wash your hands before and after using the catheter
  • Wash the area surrounding the urethra thoroughly
  • Use proper lubrication
  • Keep your bladder relatively empty by performing the catheterization 4 to 6 times a day

Continue Learning about Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

Need an Escape From UTIs? Wash it Out With Water
Need an Escape From UTIs? Wash it Out With Water
Remember Adam Sandler in Billy Madison? Bill Paxton in True Lies? And, most poignant, Jeremy Blackman in Magnolia? In those movies it’s the males who,...
Read More
When should a woman call her doctor if she has a urinary tract infection?
National Kidney FoundationNational Kidney Foundation
A women who gets urinary tract infections (UTIs) three or more times a year should speak to her doct...
More Answers
What are the symptoms of a kidney infection?
Diana MeeksDiana Meeks
Symptoms of a kidney infection include pain on one or both sides of your lower back region. You may ...
More Answers
What Are Treatment Options for Urinary Incontinence?
What Are Treatment Options for Urinary Incontinence?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.